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Top predators constrain mesopredator distributions


Newsome, TM and Greenville, AC and Cirovic, D and Dickman, CR and Johnson, CN and Krofel, M and Letnic, M and Ripple, WJ and Ritchie, EG and Stoyanov, S and Wirsing, AJ, Top predators constrain mesopredator distributions, Nature Communications, 8 Article 15469. ISSN 2041-1723 (2017) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright The Author(s) 2017. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License

DOI: doi:10.1038/ncomms15469


Top predators can suppress mesopredators by killing them, competing for resources and instilling fear, but it is unclear how suppression of mesopredators varies with the distribution and abundance of top predators at large spatial scales and among different ecological contexts. We suggest that suppression of mesopredators will be strongest where top predators occur at high densities over large areas. These conditions are more likely to occur in the core than on the margins of top predator ranges. We propose the Enemy Constraint Hypothesis, which predicts weakened top-down effects on mesopredators towards the edge of top predators' ranges. Using bounty data from North America, Europe and Australia we show that the effects of top predators on mesopredators increase from the margin towards the core of their ranges, as predicted. Continuing global contraction of top predator ranges could promote further release of mesopredator populations, altering ecosystem structure and contributing to biodiversity loss.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Australia, biodiversity, ecosystem, Europe, muscle contractility, North America, predator
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Zoology
Research Field:Animal behaviour
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Terrestrial systems and management
Objective Field:Terrestrial biodiversity
UTAS Author:Johnson, CN (Professor Christopher Johnson)
ID Code:118182
Year Published:2017
Web of Science® Times Cited:77
Deposited By:Zoology
Deposited On:2017-07-06
Last Modified:2018-05-08
Downloads:244 View Download Statistics

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